Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua! Today’s post is going to be short and sweet so I hope you enjoy it.
Living in a Latin American country has certainly given me a different perspective on Holy Week, the week before Easter. While the reason for the celebration is the same in Nicaragua and the United States, the level of celebrating is quite different. Growing up, the celebration of Holy Week was primarily a Friday and Sunday thing. On Good Friday, we would recognize the death of Christ for our sins and on Easter Sunday, we would celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Nicaragua, these two important days in the Christian calendar are also recognized and celebrated, but instead of Holy Week being mostly condensed into two days, it is truly a weeklong event. Additionally, Holy Week is much more festive in Nicaragua than what I have experienced in the United States. I wouldn’t necessarily say that either is better than the other, but it has been neat to experience this important holiday in a new way.
This expanded perspective on Holy Week has lead me to think about my perspective on the meaning and significance of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Holy Week is certainly about Jesus’ death on a cross and subsequent Resurrection from the dead to pay for and save us from our sins. The question I have asked myself is, “but why?” In the end, why would Jesus, God in the flesh, come to earth, endure death on a cross only to rise from the grave three days later? John, one of Jesus’ disciples, recorded the following words of Jesus- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV 1984) In thinking about this question, and reading the things Jesus himself said about his reason for coming to earth, I have come to realize it was all really about bringing us real life. Jesus chose to die for us so that we could live the way we were originally created to, connected to God. In the end, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is really a celebration of life, and not just any kind of life. It is a celebration that we can now have lives that are redeemed and restored to the way they ought to be. If this is a perspective you haven’t considered, this week is the perfect chance to do so. We all have the opportunity for real life because of the events of this week; all we have to do is ask for it. If this week’s festivities have become stale to you, maybe it is time to expand your perspective and to celebrate with new eyes. Wherever you find yourself this week, I hope you will take some time to reflect on the meaning and significance of Holy Week in your life.
Have a blessed Semana Santa!
– James Belt